james dashner

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI have one more final to finish before I’m officially done for the semester but I couldn’t resist taking a few minutes to publish this week’s Top Ten Tuesday considering how awesome it is! I’m a bit of a series addict so I will list those after the titles if it isn’t the first book.

December 16: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases). This will be a hard one but I’m going to try….might end up with more than ten books. I can live with that if you can šŸ˜‰ After all, my goal is to read 100 books this year and I’ve already read 97, there are a lot to choose from! So in no particular order:

1) The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick – I stumbled across a series of YouTube videos that led me to this fantastic book. It’s basically a modern day Bennet family, except with only three daughters. The videos portray typical Bennet family life, which is quickly interrupted by crazy Mrs. Bennet and the arrival of yes, Mr. Bingley.

snow ashes2) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I cannot stress this book anymore than I already have. It is amazing. You need to read it. It has action and adventure, heartbreak and loss, secrets and lies, all wrapped up into another world that will make you want to move there immediately…you know if there wasn’t a war happening.

3) Horns by Joe Hill – Yes, it was a book before it was a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. And while it might seem a bit slow at the beginning, the story and the monologues are incredible. Once Iggy embraces his fate, you cannot look away. Hard to put down and will have you smirking right along with him.

4) The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine series) by James Dashner – Even if you’d read The Maze Runner and are totally sick of it, let Dashner take you to a whole new, brave, world. In the future, there are so many places to visit and you never even have to leave your own home. Virtual reality is the hot commodity, that is until that very way of life is threatened.

5) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Another futuristic book that pulled me in and kept me entertained was this amazing feat of fiction. It is thrilling and terrifying as you’re sure that any moment death will come. There is a puzzle and a prize and Wade thinks he is the one who can finally obtain it. And maybe, just maybe, with the help of his friends, he can.

6) Good to Great by Jim Collins – This was a book I was required to read for school but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or interesting. It’s about business, and creating a successful organization, but it can be applicable in dozens of other situations as well. How to build a successful team and maintain a well-functioning way of life. Absolutely fantastic. I read it twice.Ā cinder

7) Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer – Because who doesn’t want to read about what the future of our planet might be…and not just from the United States perspective. So many books focus on this part of this world but this series has a global initiative, combined with plague and cyborgs, that will make turning pages seem like nothing. It is heart-pounding and emotional, filled with trauma and love and fear. Fairy tales with a twist is how The Lunar Chronicles is advertized but it’s really so much more than that.

8) Ripper by Stefan Petrucha – Old world history comes to life by interweaving it with a personal story that is often so intense that I had to look away. Petrucha imagines the what-ifs and brings them to life on the page with a heart-stopping twist. Jack the Ripper is lose and a kid might be the only one who can find out where he is.

9) Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – If you need a laugh or a pick-me-up, then anything by Sedaris will do. He is witty and poignant with a style that paints hysterical and cringe-worthy images in your mind. This is a collection of short holiday time stories that had me in stitches every time I picked it up.

10) The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Dark and dangerous, this series takes Lu’s writing to an entirely new level. It explores what it means to be bad in a whole new way. Is evil made or is it born? It’s a question I often ask and one that is becoming more and more popular. If you read Legend and appreciated the character of Day, then come meet Adelina and see how she makes you feel, makes blood of olympusyou think, makes you wonder.

11) The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan – I know I just did a review of this book but it definitely merits being mentioned again. Riordan is one of my favorite authors, hands down. His stories are art that I could (and have) devour for hours on end. This is the final installment in a series that has so many complex characters and complicated friendships, all while fighting the end of the world, that it was hard to put down. Even to study.

12) Etiquette & Espionage and Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School series) by Gail Carriger – What can I say about a character I have come to love this much? Sophronia is witty and clever and an obvious trouble-making due to her overabundance of curiosity. Which actually all come in handy when she is shipped off to a finishing school that makes young girls into ladies…ones that can be spies and assassins. All while maintain proper dress and decorum.

13) Doomed by Tracy Deebs – A modern day Pandora, literally, opens a gift that unleashes hell on earth. Or at least on all the computer systems of earth, leaving everything in chaos and life as she knows it in ruins. It’s hard to predict what will happen next as the young heroine attempts to undo her mistake, all while in the company of two delicious sounding young men.

14) Illusion (The Chronicles of Nick series) by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Nick Gautier is a smartass who doesn’t have a cluecrown of midnight when he should keep his mouth shut. Often causing him to get into more trouble than is strictly necessary. And in this fifth book, Nick has become mired in a whole new set of consequences that no one else acknowledges. How can you change what is happening if no one else can see it coming? Absolutely brilliant.

15) Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J. Maas – I enjoyed the first book in this series and the third as well but I think this one, the second, was the most powerful. Every page created new intensity and the hits jut kept on coming. The reveals never stopped and so much information is conveyed, it is well worth the read, even if the worst is yet to come.

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayI’m officially slacking but I promise a day late won’t make me a dollar short so here’s the topic:

November 18: Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

Where do I even begin?Ā  Not all of these are first books, some of them are series I can’t wait to continue. The first five are beginnings of new series and the others are ones that I’ve read more than one of and have new books coming out soon!

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I just finished this (and will have a review up tomorrow) and it is very well done. I loved the idea of a land of eternal winter (but not that bad kind like Narnia) and the twists and action kept me up reading at night.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Wow, wow, wow. If you haven’t read this yet, what are you waiting for? It’s dark and intriguing and sucks you in from the first page. Lu is superb and if you would like to know more check out my review.

Reviver by Seth Patrick – This is also a dark tale, similar in feel to Odd Thomas if you read those, about a guy who can communicate with the recently deceased and what means for his life. Fantastically done, for more info see my review.

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black – Clare teams up with a writing partner to bring a Harry Potter-esque book to life in a book way. It has magic and war and family ties. Want to know more? See my review.

The Rook (The Checquy Files) by Daniel O’Malley – What if you woke up and didn’t know who you were but your old self had left clues behind? In a world of magic, mystery, and intensity, Myfanwy isn’t a hero or a villain but desperately need to pretend everything is fine while hunting down whoever betrayed her at the ultra top secret government agency called Chequy. It’s a big long but worth getting into.

Capture The Flag by Kate Messner – I stumbled onto this book one day in the library and was unable to put it down. Three kids trapped in a snowstorm and the Star-Spangled Banner has gone missing, so what are they to do? Well have a romping adventure through the airport, obviously. It will make you laugh and jump and enjoy the ups and downs. Read it.

The Mortality Doctrine by James Dashner – If you have yet to read anything by Dashner or The Maze Runner just didn’t interest you, then try this series on for a try. It’s the future, not dystopia, and virtual reality. There are mysterious killings in the Sleep that happen in the Wake and one man might be behind it all. But in a fake world, how do you tell what’s real? Absolutely brilliant, see her for my review of the first book.

Finishing School by Gail Carriger – A finishing school where they teach you more than just how to drink tea and curtsey properly, that sounds like the place for Sophronia who is more interesting in climbing into dumbwaiters than coaches. The first book takes you on the whirlwind adventure in discovering her new school and place in society. After all, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s girls can’t marry (or kill) just anyone.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – If you haven’t heard of Cinder then you must be living under a rock. Everyone is revamping the classics, especially the fairy tales but few of them are doing it as well as Meyer. Her characters have depth and history and are interlocked in ways that you don’t expect. It is beautifully written, a real page-turner, and only slightly dystopian.

Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon – If you haven’t met Nick Gautier and you’ve been following my blog, we have serious issues. I don’t care if you start with this series or The Dark Hunters (which is actually the preferred starting point) but get reading some Kenyon. There is sex and mythology, New Orleans, hot guys who are badasses fighting on the side of good and mouthy Nick. This is the story of his youth which is why it’s better to start with The Dark Hunters so you understand a lot of it but this series is so amazing that I slam through them as fast as I can read and then regardless of how large they are, go back and reread.

Book Review: The Rule of Thoughts

Dear James Dashner,

You are amazing. Please get me the next book ASAP. My mouth is still agape and the anticipation is killing me.

Sincerely,

Kat Webber

rule of thoughts

What can I say about this book? Well first, STOPĀ reading this review if you haven’t read the first book (See: The Eye of the Minds). And second, I never see these twists coming. Maybe I’m just less intelligent than some people, maybe I just read so “in the moment” that I don’t catch the subtle signs, maybe Dashner really just isĀ thatĀ good. Any way you slice it, I’m happy to continue reading the words he writes on the pages.

Michael has just discovered a huge secret about himself (again, this will be a spoiler if you haven’t read the first one) and it’s seriously impacting his life. Or what he thought of as his life. Waking up a different person, literally, would be rather confusing, I imagine. And Michael has to quickly figure out his next move before he can even think about what this all means.

When Kaine’s goons show up, Michael realizes he is in trouble. And now he has to make a decision: should he find Sarah and Bryson in the real world and tell them everything or should he go it alone?

Well obviously the Trifecta to Dissect-ya can’t be separated for too long so the next phase begins. Except this one is infinitely more dangerous because it takes place in the “Wake” aka the real world. Life and death become close friends with the threesome as they try to figure out what the VNS and Kaine both really want. Agent Weber is acting strange, Kaine is begging for help, and neither the Wake or Sleep seem very safe.

There are several close calls, lots of action, and of course some underlying romance (from more than one person). This second installmentĀ takes the fighting, power plays, and intensity to all new levels. It’s hard to resist such an excellently pieced together world. With the Path complete and the future uncertain, Michael and his friends have to create their own way of doing things and find out what’s really going on.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 90

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 10
  • Love story – 6
  • Invokes emotion – 8
  • Synopsis accuracy – 6
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

maze runner Where do I even begin?

The great casting? All the little things they changed? The overall creepy feel of the movie? The extreme scary factor of the Grievers?

It’s hard to determine whether or not I liked this movie. Objectively, it was alright. As compared to the book, they were miles apart. I was so excited that this might actually be a great movie adaptation because Dashner himself loved it. I, however, was somewhat disappointed with all the little bits that were altered to make way for a more Hollywood-esque version of a completely brilliant and cgallyomplex book.

Okay, so let me first tell you what I did love about it. The casting was amazing. Dylan O’Brien was a great pick for Thomas. I really felt like he was connecting with that character and becoming him. His curiosity, running, and logic were dead on for how I pictured Thomas. Will Poulter, who I have loved since he performed in The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was an absolute standout. Gally is a royal jackass with underlying fears and doubts and I couldn’t look away whenever Poulter was on the screen. Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Blake Cooper were also fantastic as Minho, Newt, and Chuck respectively. Although Chuck was a little younger than I pictured.

The set was phenomenal. You truly got the sense of being trapped in the maze with them. The huge, towering walls with the bright green space in the center was dead on. Not to mention the pan out at the end, spectacular. The Grievers weren’t quite what I imagined but just as horrifying as they made me feel while reading the book. Part beast, part machine, and every bit hide-behind-your-hands-while-they-are-near.into the maze

The only casting I didn’t care for was Kaya Scodelario as Teresa. It’s not that she did a poor job, she was actually pretty good, but something about the character felt off with her in the role. Maybe as we see more of her in the next films, my opinion will change.

There were a bunch of little things in the movie that had been altered that you would only notice if you’ve read the book and some of them really bothered me. Only having one doorway, WCKD abbreviation, the plot line with Gally at the end, and the interactions between Thomas and Teresa. I think as a movie, it was good, entertaining, heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, and intense. But I liked the progression of the book better. It felt like they had to simplify it too much in order to appeal to the masses. They explained some underlining themes too openly and didn’t leave enough mystery.

Overall, I’d say it only achieves 3 stars. I hope the next one is better.

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayfall arch

Fall: The Season of Back-to-School, new books, leaves, pumpkin spice, apple pie, costumes, candy, turkey, and cooling temperatures. So then the big question becomes what areĀ theĀ Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list?

1) The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner – Recently published and I received it from the library although I have yet to start reading it. That’s my goal for this week!

2) Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – This has been sitting on my bookshelf since I purchased it at Barnes & Noble. I’ve wanted to read it a million times but I haven’t gotten around to it.

3) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – This is a new publication coming out next month that I recently discovered via Twitter. Magic, kingdoms, and mayhem, can’t wait!

4) Lord of the Flies by William Golding – I borrowed the Stephen King edition from my dad and I expect he’ll want it back at some point, so in honor of banned books and new school years, here I go.

5) The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Another book arriving next month and one that I have been waiting for since I finished Lu’s last series. Here’s the hoping it’s as good asĀ Legend.

6) Talon by Julie Tagawa – Dragons, shape-shifting, and secret societies? Ummm, yes please! It doesn’t come out until the end of October but I’m already foaming at the mouth to read it.

7) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – So many people have recommended this to me or are talking about the Starz series that now I just have to read the book and hope it is as good as it sounds.

8) The Whispering Skull by Jonathon Stroud – Lockwood sucked me into his world and now I fear I cannot escape. Recently published, the second installment is sure to give me chills and thrills once again.

9) Blood Magick by Nora Roberts – It’s been months, months! I say since I have finished the second book in this trilogy and I need to know how it ends. Roberts tells amazing fantasy tales if you take the time to read them.

10) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – The second movie is arriving in theatres this fall so it’s only fitting that I actually fulfill my promise to read the book before it does.

snow ashesĀ whispering skull blood magickĀ hobbit

Book Review: The Eye of the Minds

eye of mindsWhen it comes to Dashner, you know that you’re never going to get what you think you’re getting. But it’s always a twist that you don’t see coming. After reading “The Maze Runner” series which was a bit of a punch to the gut mixed with a murder mystery with a dash of futuristic creep factor, I decided I definitely wanted to give James Dashner more of my attention. (Plus he has a really cool last name!)

The Eye of Minds follows Michael and his two friends, Sarah and Bryson, on their journey to stop a cyber terrorist in a virtual reality world. Much like Ready Player One, this book dives in with the premise that basically everyone has a true self in the real world and virtual self that they can use to explore the greater digital universes. In this version, Michael is a hacker/gamer/rich kid who has all the latest tech and is head hunted by a government agency to put a stop to someone named Kaine who is killing people inside the virtual realm so they die for real on the outside.

What seems simple enough on the surface becomes increasingly more complicated as Michael and his friends hunt for clues, talk to tipsters, and scour the realities in new ways. They have to fight enemies of all kinds, find hidden information, and find new ways to hack the world as they know it.

The journey pulled me in and didn’t let go. It’s one of those “just one more chapter” books and before you know it, it’s 1am and you have to be up at 6am. And there were a couple of times where the chills were so severe, I had to read a different book so I could turn out the light and actually fall asleep.

It’s gripping and mesmerizing and takes you places you don’t expect. Fears are realized and explored and not usually in a fun or interesting way. More like I almost wet the bed and was afraid to put my feet on the floor. Okay, so maybe not as extreme as say, Stephen King but it was unexpected which made it more creepy.

But that wasn’t all that it had to offer. The book has a great tapestry of colorful characters, but not so many that you can’t remember their names, and location description that will make you feel like you are almost there. There is plenty of sarcasm and respect between the friends, a mutual appreciation of skills, and definitely a team armed to the (virtual) teeth with arsenals from several magical and non-magical realms.

If you like books that take you onto a path and you can’t figure out where it ends, then this is definitely for you. If you enjoyed The Maze Runner, Divergent, or Ready Player One, then this is definitely for you. If you just want a book that isn’t your typical YA love story/fantasy then pick this one up and get ready to take a ride.

Note: Book One of The Mortality Doctrine Series. Book Two The Rule of Thoughts was just released.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 92

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue – 9
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 10
  • Love story – 7
  • Invokes emotion – 7
  • Synopsis accuracy – 10
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 9